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Sprayed edges. Please note this book is printed in paperback.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
In an empire inspired by West African culture, on a continent divided between desert, fertile mainland, and distant islands, a young scholar-in-training finds himself caught between traditional societal expectation, and the ambitions of his own heart. He lives in a society strictly demarcated by class, dictated by birthright, wealth, and the darkness of one’s skin, yet he himself sits in the limbo of being ethnically-mixed, neither fully accepted nor shunned by the upper classes. As he attempts to fulfill his obligations and follow the strict guidelines set for him, he continually finds himself resisting and transgressing despite himself. Meanwhile, his betrothed, also caught between classes in her own way, is determined to be as perfect and traditional as possible in order to climb to the highest levels of power, hindered though she is by her fiance’s rule-breaking.
When a mysterious woman arrives in the capital city by illegally crossing a closed immigration border, her presence throws both the city as a whole and the scholar’s life into turmoil. For this young woman comes from an island that history and authority have declared a myth, bringing with her forbidden secret magics that the scholar has broken rules to find before. At a crucial moment, when a single choice could make or break his career and his life, the scholar chooses to help the mysterious woman, in defiance of his own fiance’s wishes, thus placing them all on a path of conspiracies, violence, betrayal, and magic.
As it dances between chapters told from various character POVs, interweaving several diverging and converging plot lines, this novel asks deep questions about identity, loyalty, and the delicate balance between doing what is expected by society and what one’s own heart desires. It examines issues of race and class, and the excuses a society will make to defend the oppression of minority groups of all kinds. It also offers a new and eye-opening viewpoint in contrast to the often-unacknowledged white/Western/European background of so much English-language fantasy fiction.
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